Just as tight as it gets

Harriet Brown and Sam Sheppard celebrate their win. 163604 Picture: Lorne SLSC/Marks Dadswell

It was one of the tightest finishes ever in the GMHBA Lorne Pier to Pub, but surf swim superstar Sam Sheppard claimed his seventh title in a match race for the ages.
The returning champ was in seventh heaven, surging home on a winning wave and utilising his open water skills to get past Olympic Gold Medalist Mack Horton.
Sheppard is the event ambassador of the inaugural Ocean Open Water Swim Festival at the Ocean Grove Surf Life Saving Club on Sunday 29 January.
It’s the second time Sheppard has beaten the Rio champion – this time the pair separated by only one second in the run to the line – Sheppard home in 11 minutes and 16 seconds, while Horton recorded 11.17, with Matt Gilling also on the podium at 11.37. Olympian Josh Beaver was fourth.
In the women’s event, former Ocean Grove Surf Life Saving Club member Harriet Brown notched up a record equaling sixth win, too strong for former champion Naantali Marshall, and the duo now share the title of most wins.
It was a clear victory, Brown stopping the clock at 12.13, Marshall at 12.41 and Ocean Grove Surf Life Saving Club’s Kira Kinsey third at 12.46 with the winner’s sister Alexandra Brown in fourth spot.
In the earlier Lorne Pier to Pub 5000 Blair Day won the men’s in one hour and 42 seconds, while Kate Murphy was first female home in 1.12.07.